According new research by researchers from North Carolina State University and Duke University, The flame-retardant mixture known as “Firemaster 550” is an endocrine disruptor that causes extreme weight gain, early onset of puberty and cardiovascular health effects in lab animals.
Widely Used And In Infant Products
Firemaster 550 is is used in polyurethane foam in a wide range of consumer products, ranging from mattresses to infant nursing pillows.
In this pilot study, pregnant lab rats were assigned to three groups: a control group, which was not exposed to Firemaster 550; a “low-dose” group, which ingested 100 micrograms of Firemaster 550 once per day throughout pregnancy and nursing; and a “high-dose” group, which ingested 1,000 micrograms on the same schedule. These environmentally relevant doses are lower than the doses used in industry-funded studies. Researchers then evaluated the physiological outcomes of the exposure in both the mothers (called dams) and the offspring (called pups).
The high-dose dams had much higher thyroid hormone levels than the control group, while low-dose dams had marginally higher thyroid hormone levels. This is significant because thyroid hormones influence brain development during pregnancy, as well as a host of other biological functions, such as metabolism.
In addition, researchers found extremely rapid weight gain in the offspring. By the time they were weaned from nursing, high-dose male pups were 60 percent heavier than the control group – and high-dose female pups were 31 percent heavier than the control group.
The increased weight in female pups contributed to the early onset of puberty. The control group hit puberty at 33 days old, while the high-dose group hit puberty at 29 days.
High-dose female pups also had difficulty regulating their glucose levels as adults. High-dose males had thickened walls in the left ventricle of the heart, suggestive of cardiovascular disease.
NC State University